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Guided Group Discovery Youth Pilot Kicks Off in Oregon

March 28, 2018

On February 28, 2018, Oregon’s statewide Guided Group Discovery (GGD) Youth Pilot kicked off with a full-day Train-the-Trainer for 31 Transition Network Facilitators, Youth Transition Program staff, and teachers from across the state. Participants were provided with youth-focused materials, including the Field Test version of the GGD Youth Facilitator Guide, Youth Participant Workbook, PowerPoint presentations and videos of a young woman practicing her networking pitch. For the next 10-12 weeks, each of the six pilot sites will implement GGD with high school juniors and seniors with disabilities who are interested in self-exploration in order to take control of their job search.

The six pilot sites include a mix of rural and urban locations throughout Oregon. Some of the sites have already included vocational rehabilitation (VR) and American Job Center (AJC) staff into some of the sessions. Others plan to visit an AJC as one of their activities. Sites are meeting once or twice a week, depending on the length of class periods and the number of students. Sites range from working with a handful of students to much larger cohorts. One site in southern Oregon is assigning specific partners to specific sessions and running each session seven times throughout the day, so that roughly 70 students will experience the GGD process!

In addition to the Train-the-Trainer, LEAD Center staff were also able to present GGD at the 2nd Annual Oregon Statewide Transition Conference: Investing in the Future. Attendees were able to learn more about GGD, as well as where the pilot sites were located, in case they wanted to partner with one of the sites. LEAD Center staff were also hosted by VR to provide a two-hour session on GGD for AJC and VR staff who were not able to attend the Train-the-Trainer or conference session.

Students will learn the benefits of GGD and the role of American Job Centers (AJCs), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), and community providers through a process in which both teachers and invited partners co-facilitate the GGD process in classroom settings. Students will get to know each other and will learn how to identify their own personal employment networks; their skills, interests and talents and; what types of employers may need what they have to offer; which can help focus their job searches. Students will also learn how to identify the positive aspects of their personality, their conditions for employment, and possible job accommodations needed for success. As the students progress, they will develop interests and identify vocational themes. At the end of the pilot, students will have a Blueprint for Employment that they can use with school and agency staff assisting them with their job development process.

LEAD Center will collect outcome data, including whether the Blueprint for Employment is being used for planning in Individual Plans for Employment (IPEs) and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Additional data collection for individuals who secure employment will include whether the jobs match their interests/vocational themes and conditions for employment, as well as what agencies students connected with (e.g., VR, WorkSource - Oregon’s AJC system, the Community Developmental Disability/Brokerage program in Oregon, Ticket to Work, Mental Health, etc.). Data will also be collected on which GGD tools were used to assist in obtaining employment (e.g., using their networking pitch, requesting accommodations, engaging in informational interviews, etc.).

Please visit the LEAD Center website to access its Guided Group Discovery Tools: Introduction and Course, Participant Workbook, and Facilitator Guide.